tv CNN Presents CNN May 29, 2011 4:00pm-6:00pm PDT
she said her appearance is just an opportunity to support the vets but palin is launching a multi-city bus tour that will visit sites along the east coast. she also hired top political advisors that is renewing speculation she could be running for the white house. the next hour newsroom begins right now. >> we start this hour with explosions and gunfire in yemen. its a he been a focal point on the war on terror and where the government is waging battle against islamic militants, its own people as well. in the south, security forces fired from rooftops as you can see, an antigovernment protesters. at least three people killed, dozens injured. troops loyal to their president have been fighting tribal members in the streets for days now. we will have a live report on
what's happening. that's ahead. we will have the latest on this developing story in a few minutes from now. president obama is back at the white house of a spending several hours in joplin, missouri. it was exactly a week ago that an f-5 tornado ripped through the city killing people in minutes. 5:41 central time there was a moment of silence marked by the precise instant that tornado hit. our dan traveled with the president to joplin and dan, a tough job for the president to try to lift spirits of a being amongest the people but seeing this disaster first-hand. >> this is a president who has had to do this quite a bit lately. other natural disasters as well. the president as you know last week was overseas among other things building relationships with european partners. throughout that time, white house aid said the president was getting updates on the situation here in joplin. today the president got to see
the devastation up close. >> before touching down, air force 1 flew over joplin, missouri, giving the president an aerial view of the devastation. what took months and years to build was destroyed in a few moments. homes, businesses, and anything else in the tornado's path. on the ground, it was a somber president surveying breathtaking damage up close. meeting with officials, survivors and promising not to abandon this city. >> what i've been telling every family that i've met here is, we're going to be here long of a the cameras leave. we are not going to stop until joplin is fully back on its feet. >> there is plenty of pain here but also plenty of hope. roadways were lined with thousands of people, some waving flags or holding signes with messages like, god bless joplin. at a memorial service on the campus of missouri southern state university, that escaped the tornado's wrath -- >> we will be with you every step of the way.
we're not going anywhere. >> -- president obama thanked the people of joplin for their courage. >> you've banded together. you have come to each other's aid. you demonstrated a simple truth. that amid heart break, and tragedy, no one is a stranger. everybody is a brother. everybody is a sister. >> recovering from one of the worst natural disasters in u.s. history, will not happen overnight. but missouri governor jane nixon is optimistic about the future. >> joplin will look different. and more different still in two years. and three. and five. and as the years pass, the moral of our story will be the same. love thy neighbor. god bless.
>> president obama's message was not just focused on the people of missouri but also on all of the people across the country. he urged them to get involve bid supporting the organizations that are providing food and shelter for the hundreds of people who have been displaced by the killer tornado. drew? >> dan lothian live with the president in joplin, missouri. thanks, dan. a moment of silence for the victims of last week's tornado, our casey is there. what is the scene? >> there are hundreds of people behind me here and they are leaving the site where they observed a moment of silence here and at several other areas around the city for the victims of the joplin tornado. congressman shaw saying we need each other, we need to pull together then the moment of silence happened and city manager mark rohr saying we will
rebuild joplin, make no mistake about it. that process already starting to just begin to get under way. fema says it has new approved $6.2 million to be distributed to 5600 households in job lin who have applied fores aance. that's about an average of $1100 per household. not a lot bb but a start. the city lifted its water boil order. for the last week, you haven't been able to drink water from the city's supply. you had to use bottled water. now they determined the water is once again safe to drink. just one more example of the efforts that this city is trying to make to get back to normal. at the same time the gruesome task of recovering bodies from the wreckage is continuing. officials say they have found 146 sets of human remains. it is a little gruesome here. but what we can say is that, that doesn't mean there is 146 deceased because there may be duplicate and par sh remains.
there are 43 people still unaccounted for. that number also a little bit soft because four of those folks, their family members say they are in fact deceased. we are expecting that number of unaccounted for to go down and a number of perished because of this tornado to go up over the next several days. >> casey wian on the seen in joplin. thanks, casey. besides all of the reporting they have done this week, they took many still photographs. some you are seeing now. just take a moment to look at them and the story that each one of these photos tells. a child of joplin, missouri. first a word from our troops
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the northwest primarily causing hail damage and wind damage. this is moving out of michigan now and we are focusing in on northern parts of ohio. there are thunderstorms west of cleveland and they could be producing winds in excess of 60 miles an hour as well as golf ball sized hail. this isn't in the cleveland proper yet. you aren't under the warning just yet but be alert that this is minutes away from you folks. these will push east ward throughout the day. we also have problems if you are trying to travel at the airports. we the thunderstorms earlier at chicago so we are looking at delays, nearly three hours. that's to t.o. get from other airports into chicago o'hare. par sh8 delays at chicago detroit at an. we are expecting to see thunderstorms you know dodging rain drops on the barbie. see from minnesota down into parts of texas and some storms could be severe especially in the northern tier up in this
area here. high pressure controlling the east. so it will be gorgeous for you. plenty of shines say from the mid-atlantic from the gulf coast. temperatures will be extreme. we are talking well into the 90s and probably tack on another 3 to 5 degrees because of the humidity. that's the temperature your body feels. we have heat advisories and warnings in effect from philadelphia into washington, d.c. probably sticking with water beverages as opposed to the alternate choice tomorrow to keep it safe pz thank you, jacqui jeras, i will keep that in mind. one this group found this american flag in the debris of a home there. one of them climbed a tree and let the stars and stripes fly from a branch. old school. 81-year-old veteran lived that home before it was flattened. we reportedly survived by hiding inside his refrigerator.
well sarah palin on a harley. need we see more? part of rolling thunder. she is riding into washington, d.c. but political watchers think she may be riding into a 2012 race. we'll have the inside scoop, next. ♪ the new blackberry playbook. it runs all this at the same time. ♪ why can't every tablet do that? two of the most important are energy security and economic growth.
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peter, you cover sarah palin a lot. she did show up at rolling thunder and her new bus tour kicked off today too but palin insists there is nothing political going on. listen. >> i have no office. to be an american citizen, the freedom to come out here and assemble and thank our veterans. i can't tell you how i honor -- >> a couple of her daughters and her husband behind her there. pet peter, is this the start of a political campaign? >> oh, wow. over/under, that's tough. i think when she said she holds no office and she is just an american, that's understating it a little bit. i think she does have her eyes on one office. it's into accident that this rally, this visit to the rally, this bus tour that you shock of is happening right at a moment in the political universe. it is around the idea that
presidential field was settled. pawlenty, gingrich, these are the people running aep palin says i'm a superstar and i can command all kinds of media attention. i can raise tons of money at the drop of a hat and that's why we can't count her out. whether there is a precursor to a presidential bid or another attempt to stay in the spotlight, it is a difficult question. but it is certain that palin knows the kind of power that she wields and does not want to be left out of political discussion and she will keep doing this, drawing this out. she can probably wait a couple of months even before jumping in the presidential race just because she has that mega watt celebrity within the republican party, drew. >> right. within the republican party she certainly is somewhat of an outsider and certainly an outsider of d.c. we don't see the inside speculation or leaks coming from her inner circle because that inner circle is so tight.
>> it really is tight. you make a really smart point about this insider/outsider thing. remember in 1964 no one thought gold water would be the republican nominee. in 1968 no one wanted riksard nixon could be the nominee. they the rockefeller, romneys. they would be the nominee. to the extent, that's why the democratic party and media don't quite understand the republican base. you know, george w. bush managed to con found liberals. they are like how can this guy get elected? guess what, they do have a strong grass roots appeal and that really drives the presidential nominating process on the republican side. so, you know, the palin circle of advisors as you said, they don't really talk to the media that much. they talk it a view reporters. i'm lucky to be one of them but they don't see the need to communicate through the rest of the main stream media, drew. >> yeah, you spent the week in iowa, i understand.
what's the buzz up there? are they looking palin or are they looking at romney? bachmann? some of the other people we haven't talked about here because we are so busy talking about this nonrunner on a race, on the back of a motorcycle? >> right. and all this news about palin broke the day that michele bachmann, the tea party favorite, congresswoman from minnesota was scheduled to give a speech out there. i talked it a lot of iowa republican voters. they say the race is still wide open. they like to be -- they like the attention, so they are saying sarah definitely needs to get out here pretty soon or else. but you know what, she can command a lot of attention on very short notice. the field out there is wide open. there is the closely watched aims straw poll in august which is stra digsly a -- traditionally a test of each organization in the caucus state. i believe the palin people believe they can afford to wait and skip that. but you know, mitt romney was out there.
he came in second last time. he has a lost built-in support. michele bachmann, if she runs, will have a lot of support. huckabee dominated last time but if palin steps in, she dominates that. again she can wait a month, perhaps another two months. so this waiting game will continue for a little while, drew. >> all right, peter hamby, cnn political reporter. thanks, peter. a toddler tumbles from a hotel window. we will tell you how. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
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>> tonight's headlines wp the president went to joplin, missouri today. it was his first chance to see the damage done by the f-5 tornado. he spoke at a service for the known 142 victims. the president promising assistance as the city rebuilds. tonight, a special report airing at 8 p.m. eastern. ra violent night erupting across yemen in the south. security forces fired from rooftops on antigovernment protesters. three people, at least, have been killed. dozens hurt. following mass protest in the capitol there have been a string of explosions. we will bring a live report on this chaos to you in about 10
minutes from now. in atlanta, a model plunges to her death. she was play fighting with another woman at a high rise early saturday. the preliminary investigation shows they went through a 10th story window. the other woman is listed in critical condition. a safety concern across the country, california with the largest prison system, is so overcrowded the federal government ordered it to reduce the inmate population by up to 46,000. the supreme court last week upheld that order. california now has two years to comply. perhaps there is another solution, one few people are willing to talk about. flogging. former baltimore police officer and criminologist peter moscas, makes the case in his new book, in defense of flogging. he says offering a gilly person flogging or incarceration, many
would rather have the whip. i have to tell you it is a bit bar babe # barrack wp how do you defend this flogging. >> i do think it is barbaric. but if it is so bad, i don't see the harm in the choice. i don't want to sentence a person to flogging. i want to give them the chance to stay out of prison. this th is perhaps the only politically feasible way to reduce the prison situation. something has to be done. >> something has to be done. how do we get the criminals convicted of a crime to not commit another crime. whether that is through a three, five, ten-year sentence. have you seen data this this kind of punishment would work in reducing recidivism? >> absolutely not. but here's the key. if prison doesn't work.
prison makes you more likely to commit a crime when you get out. so simply by avoiding prisoning with flogging succeeds. these people need help. that's something we need to give them but we don't give them in prison. that's one of the fallacies that somehow people -- does anyone think people leave prison better than they go? n? of course not. >> so how would flogging work? talk me through this. if you had your magic wand and would make this happen tomorrow, what kind of person gets convicted and is allowed by the judge, hey buddy, you want to serve time or get flogged? >> well if i add magic wand, i wish there was a third path. i'm all ears. here is the basic idea. they are convicted of a crime and the judge says take your choice, five years in the joint or ten lashes. i imagine most people who choose the lashes. ironically, people say, well it is is not harsh enough.
it is harsh. we talking about flogging people. i think you should flog someone like in singapore. get it over with. in a few minutes you get it done, keep your family together. keep your job if you had one. all of the harm that comes from prison and horrors that come from prison. and save a lot of money. it is a whole lot cheaper. >> you mention singapore. michael fay sentencing to caning in singapore in 1994. i think the charge was vandalism. that caused a huge uproar in this country. why would flogging be any more acceptable now? >> well you know, it caused a huge uproar. there was a lot of support for that kind of punishment too. i don't think someone should be flogged for what he did sch ch is vandalize street signs. we have 2.3 million prisoners in america. that is more than any other
country in the history of the world ever. you know, we have more prisoners than military personnel. we have to do something. and it wasn't always this way. it is related crime. it is not because of crime np in 1907 we add normal level of incarceration. really since then, mostly because of the horrible war on drugs, since then things have gotten out of hand in this country. yes it is a radical pro pro posal but hopefully it will get us talking about something far worse which is this prison industrial complex. >> all right, in defense of flogging, we have the book right here. troops turning water cannons on the people they are meant to protect. is the antigovernment protesters at its tipping point? what's this option? that's new.
>> explosions gunfire and battles raging in the streets. it's all happening at flash points across yemen where the embattled president seems to be doing everything he can to hold on to power. cnn is following the fast-moving developments. we are joined from abu dhabi. we have been watching this video of security forces firing down on a crowd in the city of taias.
can you tell us what is happening there? >> i will, drew. let's talk about the pictures we are just seeing from youtube that show water cannons and tear gas thrown at protesters, peaceful protesters, in the city. and freedom square in that city, trying to dispurse the crowd. we have heard from witnesses that that is happening, they are attacked, shot at by security forces there. but haerlier today, far more dramatic pictures, also a lot posted on social media, purporting to show security forces in this city, firing on these protesters from rooftops nearby buildings. take a listen to some of the shots as you can can hear on these videos.
officials there tell us that rocks were being thrown from rooftops. that gunfire was ringing out from rooftops. 90 people were injured, at least three people killed as a result of that gunfire aimed at those protesters, the members of the peace revolutionary movement in the city. now another worrying development in yemen today happened in the in the province of yaban. we are told it is from residents and security forces that islamic militants, in the past two days, seized that city. and that they took over the city. they started attacking security forces there. security forces initially withdrew. they came back. there were fierce clashes throughout the day.
we have video reporting showing those clashes as well. one of the reasons this is so worrying is because this province is a real hot bed for extremism. for al qaeda in that country. there is a huge al qaeda problem in yemen. in the arabian peninsula they have been able to launch attacks to the west, against the u.s. from their base in yemen. because there is so much political turmoil, there is concern that al qaeda could take advantage of that turmoil to make their presence known once before. government officials are very concerned that al qaeda and islamic militants are trying to take advantage with all of the strive going on in yemen that they will try to plan more attacks in yemen, not just in yemen but in other parts of the world. a big concern is that this is happening and a big concern that yemen might be on the verge of civil war. >> mohamed, i want to slow down and parcel that out for viewers. what we have is two different
towns and two different problems. in taiz there is something going on with the government but in the other town there is the makings of what could be an al qaeda strong hold, right? >> that's right. this is one of the problems in yemen. there is strife wherever you look. you have a peaceful protest movement that's been going on now. people that are em boldened by the arab spring movement the past few months coming out in the past several months. they are coming out trying to mare sure that president of yemen steps aside. now there are times they have been met with violence. peaceful protesters and eyewitnesss are telling us that security forces fired upon them in the city of taiz. that's one issue. the other issue is zinzabar, there are militants saying they are taking over this town. people are worried that militants in yemen will try to make their presence more known and that will be more of a threat.
not just yemen but surrounding countries and the west as well. >> all right, mohammed jamjoom on this unrest in yemen. thank you. libya's top rebel leader saying will opposition is rung out of money and fast. also opening up to our sarah about how would he like to see gadhafi brought it justice and he calls on the u.s. to take a bigger role in the conflict. >> we would like the u.s. administration to further pressure gadhafi to leave. we would also like its economic support through freeing some of libya's frozen assets there. >> what will it take for the national transitional council to agree to cease-fire? >> we agree to any cease-fire that leads to removing gadhafi. anything short of that is unacceptable. any cease-fire must be a part of a deal that must result in removing gadhafi, his sons and his deputies. >> you were the former justice
minister for the gadhafi regime. if gadhafi is brought up on charges of war crimes, who should try him? should he be tried here in libya or should the icc, international criminal court try him? >> we prefer gadhafi to be tried outside libya to guarantee transparency because there is enough evidence to indict him for crimes he committed either inside or outside libya. we have a good justice system here but we prefer gadhafi's trial to be held international. >> why do you prefer the internagsat court other than the justice system here? is it not repaired? >> because all libyans suffered under gadhafi and therefore legally they shouldn't try him in court. all libyans have been hurting from his actions. >> you told us that russian delegation will come to meese with the transitional council here in libya. what are you asking from russia? >> we welcome russia's latest
decision that its president announced at the g8 summit. we welcome this great development in russia where the revolution. we know very well that the russians have relations with gadhafi's regime and they these tactics may work in finding an exit term for gadhafi so no more blood will be spilled. >> 09% of export from libya is oil. how is that going? is there still oil production and have you been able to sell any of the oil? >> i said we are in desperate need of money. we really need money. i think this is obvious. we are going through a financial crisis now. >> but not able to sell any more oil? >> we exported one shipment and shortly of a gadhafi bombed the oil fields. >> and to pakistan now where it's been near lay month since american forces found and killed osama bin laden. several children were living
inside bin laden's compound and just like any kids they like it play and make friends but as stan grant reports, their neighborhood friends didn't really understand who was living behind the walls. >> one month of a killing osama bin laden hasn't won too many friends here. this shop keeper lives 200 meeters from where bin laden lived and died. he has more sympathy for the al qaeda leaders, calling us pigs. are muslims terrorists everywhere he said? actually america is the biggest terrorist. others though are friendlier. this boy, zara, approaches us with a story to tell. he and his sister, befriended bin laden's youngest children and grandchildren. they say two boys and one girl. 7, 3 and 3 years old. zara relives the game he he played with them.
that's the white bin laden house behind us. no outsiders breeched security, zara says he actually played inside the compound itself. getting a close look at a secret world. despite being neighbors, the brother and sister didn't know the bin laden children's names. the children told them their father was the family career they called nadeen. only now do they know who their playmates really were. my grandmother asked, who is your father. asa said, they said nadeen. they always said nadeen. we get to piece together daily life in the bin laden compound, rather than speaking the local language, bin laden's preferred the language of the afghanistan pakistan border. they were a normal family, friendly, the children say. they never saw osama bin laden. he remained well hidden. they did meet the bin laden wives. there were two standing in the house, zara says.
they asked me, how was i? where did i live? what did my mother do. i told them my mother was a husband wife thp they wore ordinary pakistani clothes. he said he noticed the women were different from other mothers in the neighborhood. they spoke in a strange language he said, very poor. then i thought, probably they were arabic. earn the children were different too. even in this muslim community, they were especially devout. they were very when re linl outs, zara says. whenever i went there to play, they asked know wait until afternoon prayer then they would start playing later for -- stop playing later for evening prayer. he shows us pet rabbits a gift from the bin laden family. of a everything, she says she misses her friends. they were young, they were beautiful. i really plis them. they were the only children we played with. zara and asa's father is a government official in the justice department. either osama bin laden lived right next door and no one knew.
the bin laden's lived this way for years. in the heart of a military city in the mountains 2 hours drive north from the capitol islamabad. now the area is in lock down 37. in recent days it's been open for the cia to collect material and information. but no such access for us. as we try to get close, this is what happens. roll on. the police say, they are under instructions to smash our cameras. we get it back but we won't be going any further. this is clearly as far as we are going to go. we went get any closer to the bin laden compound. here, life continues as normal. beyond here though, 200 meters or o so away, is the bin laden house, still holding in so many of the secrets of his life here. okay, we're finished. thank you very much. thank you. stan grant, cnn, pakistan. >> and coming up -- >> i come here and look at birth
dates and death dates. and i think, these are kids not much older than me. they are not just a number of casualties, they are actual people. >> that 17-year-old is turning arlington national cemetery's memories digital with the use of his computer. we'll have that story coming up. first a word from our soldiers overseas. >> hi everybody this is staff sergeant lyle williams. i want to take this opportunity to say hello to my mother and father, my sister. i love you guys, i miss you guys. i will be home soon on r and r and can't wait to see you. i wish you a happy memorial day and hope you enjoy the game. it runs all this at the same time. why can't every tablet do that?
>> memorial dpa weekend is to remember those who made the sacrifice, putting their lives on the line for us. adrian houser has one of their stories. >> memorial day is not just a day off for manny gonzalez. this father of five, a lieutenant with the new york city police department, who spent nearly two decades in the u.s. army wants his kids to know the meaning of this holiday. >> that's the flag i flew in iraq when i was there. i let them know, it's not just, you know, a decoration. it's, you know, there are
people, men and women, who sacrifice their lives to have their flag proudly waving. >> in 1997, gonzalez had gone back to civilian life of a serving eight years of an officer. of a 9/11 he decided to join again as an enlisted man. >> i had seen the devastation in ground zero personally. my brother's a in, city firefighter. we were out there together, in the bucket brigade, you know, digging up dirt and trying to get people out. and you know, of a a while, you just felt that need to serve. >> that service took him to iraq twice. in 2003 and again in 2008. a highlight, a team he led, recovered iraqi treasures looted from museums during the fall of baghdad. among recoveries was a mask, an are a fact that dates back to 3100 bc. >> it was a very happy time.
i know the children really appreciated it because they would come on a regular basits to museums. it is like you are giving back the history back to the iraqys. >> born in brooklyn to puerto rican parents, now gonzalez an officer is a growing number of latinos in the military. he says his background helped him relate to the iraqi people. >> for the most part, i come from a lower economic standard, and we identified with that type of living and living in kind of in impoverished areas. >> the department of defense says hispanics made up nearly 12% of the armed forces in 2009. gonzalez says he sees more latinos with stars and bars on their shoulders than he did in his first enlistment. >> now the latinos, captains, colonels and quite a bit of generals. i get actually proud when i see a latino in those leadership positions.
you know that that commander can identify with how hard it is for you to just be in the military. >> proud of his heritage and of the service he has given his country. especially on memorial day. cnn, new york. >> and on this memorial day weekend, cnn's sandra endo caught up with a teenager trying to preserve the memory of war heroes on-line. >> one by one, 17-year-old ricky keeps the spirit behind these head stones at arlington national cemetery alive, on-line. >> you come here thinking what? >> well it's sad because i come here and look at the birth dates and death dates and i think, these are kids not much older than me. >> tcomputer whiz started
dockmenting those in afghanistan buried in arlington of a he heard about the problems in the cemetery. he posted information and pictures on his website called preserve and honor.com. it received more than a million hits since it launched in october? as what do you hope for when people log on to your website? >> i hope that they can go on and feel a little bit of comfort in knowing that they are not just a number of casualties or anything like that, they are actual people. >> an investigation by the army inspector general found 211 graves were mislabelled here. arlington cemetery has been under fire for keeping ann't kwated record system of the nearnea 300,000 men and women buried here. >> it'll make sites like ricky's easier because it will be all be available on our website. >> this project took on a deeper meaning as he learned more about one fallen soldier. >> what is special about this
hold haed snoen particular is that it is the only one around it that has gold lettering. which means he was a medal of honor winner. >> keep us ever grateful for the life of ross andrew mcguinness. >> he was fighting. someone through a grenade inside the humvee. he jumped in, put grenade and absorbed most of the blast, sew saved everyone else. >> reporter: we reach out to the mcginnis family who had no idea about the project and became emotional after seeing the site. in an e-mail mr. mcginnis thanked ricky for his work, describing it as a way to showcase the sacrifices of our nation's heroes. but there are still new sacrifices ricky will continue to capture. sandra endo, cnn, arlington national cemetery. >> the devastation in joplin became an opportunity for hoer reism as well.
we'll show you a average gooid guy who made a life hive safing difference. important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
inspired us with acts of bravery and shown us bravery. in joplin, missouri we met one of our many heroes. we only known him by his first name, jason. he took it upon himself to clear out debris and rescue his neighbors. >> i was down the road, saw the rain go through real bad. we didn't know it was a tornado but every time the lightning strushgs you could see it moving down the road. immediately started getting our chain saws and cutting stuff up out of the road and pushing everything we can because we knew that the ambulance would have to be in there and fire and everything else. i just knew there was people in trouble. this from all the damage i'd seen and debris, i knew there was people out there. and i knew that we had to get them out, and at the same time we had to get the roads cleared. i was clearing roads until i heard people screaming. that's when i would go into the house and started yelling and listening for them. and as soon as they yelled back,
i'd dig them out of the rubble or whatever and try and get them to the street. and once i got them to the street, everyone else could see what was going on. and i would just go running house to house to house for four or five hours. there was a house the walls caved in on and it, and i saw the smoke coming out so i got my chain saw, cut a hole and the house was on fire and part of the wall came at me and just the charcoal from it got me. >> nice job. hey, at dodgers stadium a man gets so excited to catch a ball, he drops a kid. that's not the funny part. the best part is the child's reaction. stay with us. another reminder of what i couldn't do. ♪ the accident could have been my excuse to quit. i made it my reason to go even harder. ♪
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top stories at this house. rookie driver j.r. hild brand made it to the final turn in his attempt to win the 100th nms 500 but it wasn't enough. he was leading the race in the last lap when he slammed into the wall. dan wheldon sped past him to the checkered flag. hildbrand crashed when he move to pass on the outside to pass another driver. he slid across the finish line and finished second. check out the reaction of the indiana national guard soldiers watching in iraq. his car, by the way, sponsored bit national guard. in los angeles, fire broke out right in the middle of the
dodgers game against the florida marlin. you can see the smoke coming from a small fire in a storage area. several fans had to move. no one was evacuated, though, and the game was not interrupted. and in the stands, a dodger fan did something that's going to come back to bite him on father's day in a few weeks. watch the video. dad trying to get a player to throw him a foul ball but he drops his little girl when it comes at him. the ball flies through his hand. when he tries to pick her back up, she elbows him. good job, dad. and take a look at what was wandering the streets of abu dhabi. a young wild cheetah spotted behind the house. police and wildlife experts rushed to the scene, caught it. it had a broken left paw. cheetahs are native to africa and parts of the middle east but they hadn't been thought to live in the wild in the united arab emirates. i'm drew griffin at the cnn
center in atlanta. cnn presents special "a twister's fury: in the path of destruction" begins right now. this is how it began. the wisps in the distance, the roar. >> listen to it! >> reporter: the flashes of transformers and power lines and it kept on growing and growing and growing into a massive, angry monster. >> oh, it's getting big, big, big. >> that's huge. >> oh, gosh. that is a monster tornado. >> reporter: battle hardened storm chasers in awe of nature's power. >> oh, my gosh. this is awful. dude, the trees. the trees are debarked! >> reporter: residents running for cover anywhere they could.
>> in a crowded convenience store some 20 people hunkering down in a darkened commercial refrigerator. >> can we go in the cooler? [ screaming ] >> go! >> oh, dear heaven. >> god! >> reporter: at the same time a security camera in a nearby frozen yogurt shop catches the chaos. workers moving customers to the back and then everything goes flying. the massive tornado mowing down everything in its path. people's lives churned up and spewed out. >> here's the gas station that we were at. >> reporter: this is the convenience store now. >> this would have been where we walked in. >> reporter: all across the city, thousands and thousands of
people in shock, taking the first steps on the long road to recovery. make no mistake, joplin, missouri, will rebuild, but it will never be the same. hello and welcome to this one-hoer special report on the joplin, missouri, tornado and other deadly storms. "a twister's fury: in the path of "destruction. i'm drew griffin. resident city leaders, rescue crews stopped, bowed their heads in a moment of silence to remember exactly what happened one week ago tonight.
that is joplin tonight. a week ago the people of joplin were in shock. an f-5 tornado, unlike anything anyone had seen, ripped through the heart of that city, mowing down everything in their path. today president obama went to see for himself the devastation and to bring words of comfort and encouragement to the badly wounded community. at least 142 people were lost in those deadly minutes. our dan lothian traveled there with the president. >> reporter: before touching down air force one flew over joplin, missouri, giving the president an aerial view of the devastation. what took months and years to rebuild was destroyed in a few moments. homes, businesses and anything else in the tornado's path. on the ground it was a somber president surveying the breathtaking damage up close,
meeting with officials, survivors and promising not to abandon this city. >> what i've been telling every family i've met here is we're going to -- we're going to be here long after the cameras leave. we are not going to stop until joplin's fully back on its feet. >> reporter: there is plenty of pain here, but also plenty of hope. roadways were lined with thousands of people, some waving flags or holding signs with messages like, god bless joplin. at a memorial service on the campus of missouri southern state university, that escaped the tornado's wrath -- >> we will be with you every step of the way. we're not going anywhere. >> reporter: -- president obama thanked the people of joplin for their courage. >> you banded together, you've 4 come to each other's aid, you've demonstrated a simple truth, that amid heartbreak and tragedy, no one is a stranger. everybody is a brother.
everybody is a sister. >> reporter: recovering from one of the worst natural disasters in u.s. history will not happen overnight. but missouri governor jay nixon is optimistic about the future. >> joplin will look different. and more different still in two years, and three, and five, and as the years pass, the moral of our story will be the same. love thy neighbor. god bless. >> dan lothian joining us live. the president has a lot of comforting to do, storm after storm, disaster after disaster. >> reporter: that's right. i mean, we saw the president several weeks ago when he was in memphis, tennessee, after they had a lot of flooding there, and then in tuscaloosa, alabama, we saw the president there touring the region after more than 40 people were killed in a tornado.
and, you know, meeting with the residents there. today the president reflected back on that. he said at the time when he was in tuscaloosa, that was the kind of devastation that he had never seen in his lifetime. he says, this tragedy here is just as heartbreaking, but in some ways, he said, it's even worse. >> all right, dan lothian live in joplin. last sunday's twister left a mangled path of death and debris. initially said to be six miles wide. our casey wynn wanted to check it out for himself. what he found was a bit outstanding. >> reporter: show us the initial damage from the tornado. >> initially those trees start through there. and the stuff over here, that's a trailer for the business here, the working trailer. >> reporter: so, this is ground zero of the joplin tornado and we're going to drive its entire length from west to east to get a good picture of just how widespread the damage was. here's the first downed power
lines. major electrical transmission lines. one reason much of joplin is without electrical power. so, less than a mile into our journey, you see the first homes that have lost poort art of the roofs. on this house, a sign warning, looters will be shot. we can see some of the power company crews are working on repairing these downed electrical lines. that will be vital to this area's recovery. we're now about three miles into our journey and you can see behind me that by the time the tornado got here, it destroyed almost everything in its path. including one of the iconic images of this disaster, st. john's hospital. now about four miles into the path of the tornado, this is where we first came just hours after it hit and spoke with a family who was trying to salvage what they could, despite a driving rain and hailstorm. >> it was just starting off with hail. i'm used to that. and then it just went insane afterward. >> reporter: here is the collapsed home depot where we first met 17-year-old andrea
osborn, who was desperately searching for her father. >> my dad and my uncle are in there and i'm just -- i'm hoping and praying to god they're okay. >> reporter: turned out they were buried in that rubble. so, we are now about seven miles to the east of where the tornado first touched down. as you can see, there's still lots of damage here, so those original estimates of six miles on the ground are way too conservative. this is where jim and stacy richards lived. stacy survived the tornado by hanging onto two dog crates as her home collapsed around and on top of her. >> that was awful. laying there, screaming and screaming and screaming. yeah, it was horrible. >> reporter: this week they got their insurance settlement so they can rebuild. how far east did it go? >> i'm not sure. i know there's damage over on the next mile section. >> reporter: we're now almost exactly 12 miles due east of where we started this journey and where the tornado first touched down. this is the area where locals
say the tornado actually lifted off the ground, meaning its path is about twice as long as first estimated. now the national weather service has revised it's report based on aerial photographs of damage to trees. necessity now say the tornado's path was 13 miles long. also new numbers to report today, drew. the death toll continues to rise here. officials say there are 146 sets of human remains that have been recovered. without getting too gruesome, that doesn't mean that's the same number as the death toll because there may be duplicate partial remains. also, 43 people remain missing tonight. that includes four people listed as missing but whose family members say they are, in fact, deceased. some good news for this community. very early stages of its recovery, fema says it has approved $6.2 million in loans for 5,600 joplin area households, that's about $1100 per household. not a lot of money but a start.
the city of joplin, now the water is safe to drink. it hasn't been all week. they lifted the boil water order and now people don't have to drink bottled water in the city of joplin. just one sign it's starting to get back to normal. >> casey, i want to ask you about the figure of 146 now perhaps dead. 43, though, missing. where are they? where do they suspect those people are, if they are, indeed, perished in this tornado? >> reporter: you know, no one knows. search teams are still combing throughout this area with dogs. city officials don't know how many dog teams are out there at this hour but their stale out there looking. you can see behind me, there are still piles of rubble, piles of debris, still homes in various stages of collapse. there are structures all over a 12 to 13-mile long area and a three-quarter to one-mile wide area. imagine the job it takes to go through all of that rubble. they found one body a day or two ago in a pond. so, they could be anywhere.
some of those missing may just be missing and haven't contacted their family members. we just don't know. >> casey wian live in joplin, missouri, all week long, casey, great job, thanks. when we return, a store manager tells one customer, say hey, you can't leave. an unwelcome order, but it may have saved a life. another couple's lives spared in a room they took for granted until now. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
and so we just all jumped in the cooler. it's pretty small, so everyone was pretty tight, you know. everyone was getting kind of crushed. there was broken glass everywhere. >> the dillon supermarket in joplin was one of the major businesses that took a direct hit from last sunday's tornado. assistant manager john and customer rick morgan were both in the store as the storm approached. they join us now. i believe it's the first time you've seen each other since last sunday. fy have this right, that is when rick, you said, i'm leaving and john said, no you're not, is that about right? >> well, yes. i publicly repented on last tuesday with t.j. in an
interview that i had been one of those people that just, you know, would hear the sirens go off and i went into the store to -- and just ignore them but i went into the store to get milk and the sirens went off and john got on the pa and said, everyone need to get into the produce cooler. my thought is, i'll just get in my home and drive home, which is right down 20th street, which is the path the tornado was taking at that very moment. i got to the front door and he was pleading with me. he says, sir, you don't want to go out there. and i didn't. because i didn't, i'm alive. >> rick, he saved your life, right? basically? >> he did, he did. he saved my life. and about 35 of us were crammed into this little cooler. and he was the last one if. he was telling me, i didn't know this, but that he was actually starting to be sucked out, lifted up, and two of the girls that worked for him held onto
him and kept him from -- because they couldn't close the door because of the wind was so bad. he was about to get sucked out. >> john, is this store policy, your policy? have you practiced this, everybody in the cooler? >> this is a company policy, kroger is really good. they have all of these different policies out. they believe in safety first. my store manager, mindy, she's adamant within the store to make sure everybody knows where they're supposed to go in the event of a tornado. if it gets cloudy outside, we go around, check to make sure that people know where their flashlights are at, make sure that the batteries are working in them, they know exactly where they're to go, and to grab everybody on the way to our produce cooler. >> john, give me an idea of what it was like inside that cooler. were people screaming? were they scared? were they calm? >> people were screaming, people were praying, people were
crying. i know it seemed like everybody was holding on to everybody. i believe it was everybody's efforts. the employees as well as the customers who were holding onto and keeping each other from any more possibility of being hurt or injured. >> can i ask both of you -- >> at a certain point -- >> yes, go ahead, rick. >> i was just going to say, at a certain point, even the roof of the produce cooler halfway collapses down on us. and it held, though. and we were saved. >> rick, when the door was opened, you came out of that cooler. what did you see? >> to see this behind you, it's just -- it's like the end of the world. it's devastation. i don't know. it was terrible. we were all just in shock.
just shock. i don't know what else to call it. i came back, walked home and came back later that night about midnight to see if my car, which was just completely trashed in the parking lot and see if there was anything left in it worth anything and there's not. >> that was the car you were going to drive home in. >> that's the car. oh, it's just crushed down. it's just -- mean, the roof is completely crushed in. it's just really bad. when we got there, we talk with people and some guards that were there and i brought my son with me and we were walking away. and john was walking back from his house. i said, there's the man that savedmy life. we just talked for a little bit. the thing he shared with me that i just found so encouraging and profound he said, he don't think anyone was left in the store.
i think they all lived. and i was just so thankful. i mean, that's what leadership is all about. it's just -- you know, i was at the thing with president obama where he talked about the manager who actually gave his life to save those customers in a cooler, i think, in pizza hut. i don't know. i appreciate this man because he really did -- i mean, god spared us, but in the natural, this man saved my life, literally. and i thank you. >> well, heroes come in all shapes and sizes, guys. a nice moment to end on there. john, congratulations for stepping up to the plate when your customers really needed you. thanks to both of you. john, assistant store manager at dillon stores, which i'm sure up or down, they're coming back to joplin, i bet, right, john? >> they are going to rebuild here. and they put out a news about that about everything that's
going to be taking place. >> and rick morgan, who will never shop anywhere again. thanks again. >> i -- well, actually, i called nicole, who had talked to me the first time about the first interview i had and i left her a phone message on wednesday. i said, well, i just spent about an hour in my storm shelter for the first time in many years. >> all right. >> and the tornado didn't come but i'm going to keep spending it there when the sirens go off. i've officially repented. >> rick and john, thank you so much. speaking of that -- >> if it's possible, could i give a real quick shout out. >> real quick. >> i'd like to thank all my family and friends back home for all their prayers and support, and i'd love to thank all the dillons employees and everybody for all the support and prayers that they've done for us. so, god bless you all. >> i can give a quick shout out to the workers. i was out of -- our house was not hit but i was -- i had power back in three days. and i'm so thankful for the men
and women who have come here and just are working so hard to help restore the city, the volunteers. it's just been overwhelming. thank you. thank you, thank you. >> all right, guys. a quick shout out to both of you. thank you for being on our program. we really appreciate it. congratulations. thanks again. well, the death toll could have been even higher in the storms were it not for the so-called safe rooms in some houses. a safe room is a fortified structure like steel and concrete made to withstand a tornado and the beelick family in joplin says their safe room saved them from death. t.j. holmes got a firsthand look. >> reporter: you guys are accustomed to severe weather in the midwest and this part of the country. when did this start to feel any different? >> this storm, even though initially to me started like pretty much every other storm
that we know. we hear the warnings on the television. we keep an eye out the window. >> reporter: when did your own personal alarm bells start going off? >> you know what, they were downstairs, they were eating, watching a movie, and i was upstairs watching tv, like i said. i looked outside and it was dark. it looked scary, but it wasn't that much different, but something said, go downstairs. as soon as i said it, the power went off. >> and we got in the room. she closed the door and then my ears started popping. >> oh, terrible. >> as if we were going up in an airplane. i had never experienced that before. >> reporter: how many times have you all used this in the past? >> never. been here three years. >> reporter: you have never used your safe room? >> never. two and a half weeks ago i cleaned it out. >> reporter: you were using it as a closet. >> we were. this was a closet. >> reporter: did you feel safe once you got in here and closed
the door? >> well, i was against the door and it was shaking so hard. and i just was holding on. i mean, i was just laying against it. you could feel the pressure. >> yeah. see, this is wood on the top so there was a lot of banging going on. >> just sounded like everything was exploding. >> reporter: where in your house could you have survived if you didn't have this room? >> not anywhere else in the house besides down here. >> reporter: if our daughter >> if our daughter isabella would have been in her room she surely would have died because her whole window exploded in. just glass everywhere. >> upstairs there is a board from the fence that actually goes right through the wall like it was going at 200 miles an hour. >> just wouldn't have been okay. >> everything on the top floor was pretty -- pretty much shot. >> everything had just exploded. everything was everywhere. i mean, it was like a war zone. i turned around and went and
told my kids, nothing looks the same, but we are all alive. >> reporter: today what do you think about the attitude you used to have this about room? >> i would never live in this area without a room like this again. it saved our lives. >> from now on we will always keep it cleared out so we can get in here. >> it's a blessing. now take a listen to this. >> the sirens sounded and the warnings went up. we ferried everyone into the basement of the gymnasium which is where the shelter is. >> coming up next, high praise for red cross volunteers who helped so many victims while suffering personal losses of their own. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 absolutely, i mean, these financial services companies tdd# 1-800-345-2550 are still talking about retirement tdd# 1-800-345-2550 like it's some kind of dream.
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of the 142 confirmed dead in joplin, there are individual stories of tragedy. the lives taken range from 1-year-old hazy howard to 92-year-old margaret. throughout the week we watched as rescue workers sifted through giant piles of rubble that were once homes and businesses and cars, families presented photos of the missing and the nation waited and hoped for happy reunions.
hope for finding 16-month-old skyler alive. wednesday, the toddler ripped from his mother's arms by the sheer force of this storm, drew national attention, tens of thousands to a facebook page to locate him. tips led that he may be in kansas city, springfield, but none of that turned out to be true. a great aunt identified his body on wednesday. we learned today the body of will norton, the teen who had just graduated from joplin high when the tornado hit one week ago, his body was found in a pond. the 18-year-old was racing home ahead of the tornado, less than an hour after he eped is his deputy loma. he was in the family's hummer with his dad. the tornado sucked him out through the sun roof. his father survived. it is the survivors trying to make sense of the ka fasty that up-ended their lives and destroyed almost everything around them. as casey wian tells us, some are fining faith and hope at a red cross shelter.
>> reporter: blown away. a town, a community torn apart. he lost his hospital, his home and nearly his father. >> i was just calling him out. i was yelling his name, dad, dad, are you there? he nearly lost his life. >> i thought i was going to die, truthfully. >> reporter: like so many trying to pick up the pieces of their life in joplin, missouri, this doctor and john ness have been ravaged by this disaster. but they have both found faith and purpose at this makeshift red cross center on the campus of missouri southern university. >> we've been sleeping in the
dormitory area. >> reporter: ness is lucky to be sleeping anywhere. when this tornado devastated this town, he was literally sucked through the wall of his home. >> wall went through it, into the backyard, the trees were falling, and fell and smashed everything i own in the backyard. >> reporter: ness has lost much, everyone has here, scarred permanently by this killer storm. >> every time i hear a bang or boom or something, i jump. which i never was that -- like that. it scares me. >> reporter: ness counts his blessings. >> if it wasn't for the lord, i wouldn't here. like i said, sunday morning i got saved. sunday night i got blowed away. >> reporter: he has high praise for the red cross and its tireless volunteers. >> walk a little bit and keep your legs moving. >> reporter: he's tending to
those in need even as he struggles with staggering losses in his own life. >> we lost our home, you know, the hospital is destroyed, and i -- my office is destroyed. >> reporter: dr. zaidi was at st. john hospital when the tornado cut through it. >> i had no idea what my family -- i lost -- we lost contact. >> reporter: frantic, uncertain hours followed, but then word finally came through, first from his daughter, then his wife, they're okay. but someone was still missing. his father. >> we went to my patienrents' h. he was there, he was stuck in the rubble. he was stuck in his room pep couldn't get out. >> reporter: as in so many scenes that have played out all over joplin, dr. zaidi was forced to dig to save a loved one. >> we found a path and we
cleared up stuff and we just kind of pulled him out from there at 2:00 in the morning. >> reporter: throughout this temporary red cross shelter,there are stories of dramatic rescues, close calls and agonizing losses. >> we are homeless, jobless and carless. but believe me, i think that we are so lucky to survive this. and right now we just have to start from scratch. >> it was a big question this week in joplin, where dot sick and injured go when their town's main hospital is blown away? we'll take you inside st. john's hospital next. [ male announcer ] edmunds.com says that lexus holds its value better than any other luxury brand. ♪ intellichoice proclaims
disaster strikes -- >> right through here. i don't know where we are. >> reporter: if the worst happens. >> oh, my gosh. >> reporter: and the hospital is at the center of the storm. >> oh, no. it's the hospital! >> reporter: st. john's hospital, joplin, missouri, the biggest hospital for miles around. >> st. john's is a 230-bed acute care hospital. >> reporter: jim risko has been an er doc at st. john's for the past seven years. >> this is a very sophisticated hospital in a relatively small town. >> i was down the road playing horseshoes with my friends. >> reporter: on may 22nd andrew mcdaniel came to the homent to visit his grandmother. as he arrived, a sound familiar to every midwesterner. >> the sirens started going off when i was walking in. i didn't see much other than the
dark clouds over there. i didn't think much of it. >> reporter: but in those dark clouds, a monster tornado was headed right for them. at st. john's, it was the moment they trained for that they hoped would never come. >> we drill just by virtue of the fact we're in tornado alley, we prepare several times a month. >> reporter: but this was not a drill. >> it was a stormy day. we thought all was going well. >> reporter: angie was a nurse in the emergency room. >> of course, no one ever thinks it's going to happen. nobody was really taking it serious. >> reporter: but the tornado was churning toward the hospital at 200 miles per hour. there wasn't a second to lose. >> i was in triage center and heard loud train sounds and our security alerted me that we had to move quickly. >> the nurses already warned
everybody that we do have a tornado, go. >> reporter: patient paul johnson hit the decks. >> my son was with me so i just shoved me in the hallway. >> reporter: moments later, the tornado hit the hospital dead on. >> the whole building started going side to side like we were on a boat. >> oh, my gosh. >> everything just started flying at me. >> reporter: all the ceiling tiles came down. >> oh, it's getting big, big, big. >> pieces of the window same sailing all around. >> ekg machines and gurneys were flying down the hall. >> oh, gosh. that is a monster tornado. >> of course, now there was a whole lot of our fathers and hail marys going on. >> there were three coworkers in front of me. i started screaming for them to get down. pushed them under our rid registration desk. >> reporter: before the tornado passed, she started crawling
down the hall to make sure everyone was okay. >> our nurses were directly protecting patients, laying over the top of patients because these ambulance doors immediately gave, blew through the er. >> reporter: when it was over, paul johnson could see the sky. >> i could look right up through the ceiling and see blue sky. i could see some of the hospital had to be gone. because i knew there was another floor above us. when i saw that, i said, this ain't good. this is not good at all. >> reporter: but johnson was okay and so was mcdaniel and his family. >> my grandpa has bruises and cuts on his back. my grandma has glass still embedded in her hair, but we're a lot better off that a lot of people. >> this is bad. oh, my gosh. this is awful. >> reporter: a lot of people in joplin were suddenly and severely wounded. but the biggest hospital in town
was in ruins. >> pretty much turned the page on disaster plans. >> reporter: risko at home on his day off rushed to the hospital. he arrived to find a building he hardly recognized. >> the hospital was on fire, blackened and the top of the roof was gone. the doors to the emergency room were blown open. >> reporter: now the newly wounded flooded into the hospital. >> they began running through and jumping over tables through our er doors that had busted open. i mean, they were bleeding profusely. immediately when i started seeing them, all fear is gone from myself. i mean, those patients needed us. >> reporter: as the injured flooded to the hospital for care, mcdaniel was desperately trying to get his grandmother out. >> they took us down to the second floor and there was about
ankle-deep water, and we were trying to push wheelchairs and everything through it to get people out. >> reporter: they wheeled thinks grandmother out of the hospital and flagged down a passing car to drive them home. >> there was no crying, there was no screaming. >> reporter: the st. john staff kept working, laser focused on their patients. >> we did what we had to do. and we all stayed, even though people were worried about their families. >> i'm just a very short period of time we were able to evacuate over 200 patients to a safer parking lot and then transport them to area hospitals. >> this finger here was lass rated wide open. >> reporter: patients like paul johnson were stabilized in makeshift triage centers. >> they were making do with what they had. so, i tip my hat to them. it was that fast they set up a system that fast that took care of people.
>> reporter: six people died at st. john's that day, but miraculously, most survived. >> this is the new tower, this is the original hospital. >> reporter: two days later, for jim risko, it's all sinking in. >> my heart's broken because my mom and dad died here, my son was born here. i have so many memories of working with the other doctors and the nurses. this is home. i mean, st. john's is more than a building. it's a spirit. >> st. john's and the national guard are opening a temporary field hospital with 60 beds. it's across from the destroyed building. why are we seeing so many powerful tornado this is year? we'll show you the science behind how they're formed next. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work,
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an f-0, small little tornado. but in five miles it became 200 miles per hour and more. just five miles. had the storm, had this spot right here, been maybe 15 miles farther to the west and so the spotters were out on it, saying, look out, this is a huge killer tornado, get out of the way, get out of the way, get out of the way, maybe the immediacy would have been a little more. people would have been out of their cars, out of buildings. a lot of people died in cars. you saw what happened to those cars. cars were destroyed. it was a giant tornado. there was some times just nothing you can do about it. there's an question. that's joplin, that little word right there. this is what we call a hook echo. this is a monster cell. but it wasn't -- it wasn't a tornado on the ground until it got right there. and then when the tornado got on the ground, it just rolled and ripped through joplin, missouri, got bigger and bigger and bigger. at some point in time, a 20 0
miles per hour, even if you're in your safe spot, if you're not underground in a storm shelter, you can't survive it. >> we've seen so many tough storms this season. is there something about this season or the particular storms we are just unlucky, this one hit joplin, one other one hit tuscaloosa. >> a few things that are different. we don't know for years what exactly all happened until somebody's master thesis figures it out. let's go through the things that are different this year than a normal year. this is a normal jet stream, a normal pattern and storms firing oak observati oklahoma and texas. how is spring 2011 sdimpbt? it's colder than normal in the plains. this was a record snowpack. there were 72 feet of snow at alpine meadows in the sierra. railroad snowpack in the rockies and cold, cold air across the northern plains. every time a cold front came down, it was colder than it should have been.
that cold air digs under and pushes warm air up. and the dry air here -- this has been historic drought in parts of texas. many of the storms should have been in texas but if the air is so dry, you can't get a thunderstorm, you won't get any trrns. what was it waiting for? the storms are waiting for the flooding. the floodwaters that are here. every time the sun comes out, it bakes those floodwaters, they evaporate and the air here is more humid than it would be in a regular year are. something else, the gulf of mexico is warmer than normal. you have colder than normal, warmer than normal. that makes a jet stream that's faster than normal. when you get a jet stream moving faster, you get the potential for more sheer. more difference between what the air is doing down here and what the air is doing up here. a faster jet can make and does make bigger tornadoes. i. >> i hemean, how does a tornado form?
>> this is cool stuff. particles on the ground, humidity on the ground starts to rise. like a hot air balloon. when the sun comes out, heats the ground, the ground warms up and the air wants to rise. as the air rises into space, it goes up higher and higher and gets into colder and colder air so the particles congeal, the humidity comes in and goes straight up into the air and you see the towering cumulus clouds, like everything in the northern hemisphere that spins to the right and everything in the southern hemisphere that spin to the left. if you move this stuff long enough on the way up, literally, 60,000 feet in the sky, 12 miles from the surface to the top, you will get this spin. eventually, the whole storm spins and then the back half we call it the mesocyclone, the conservation of ang you lar momentum, like an ice skail skater bringing her arms in. she skates and skates faster. the more -- the closer her arms are in and at the bottom of the mesocyclone a tornado falls out of this storm. >> well, it has been a month since tornadoes ravaged alabama.
begun but in alabama it's been a month. how is the recovery there? cnn's david mattingly. >> reporter: one month since a monster tornado killed 41 people here, tuscaloosa, alabama, offers little hope for a quick recovery to the victims of more recent tornadoes in places like joplin, missouri. >> what's this over here? >> that's my grandson's tent. >> reporter: on the outskirts of tusk loose sashgs i find gale harden in a moment of despair. >> today it just hit me, you know, that -- that i'm not ever going to be able to go back home again. >> reporter: after living in tents for weeks with her family, almost everything harden had still sits in a massive pile next to the road, letting go of the life she knew has been the hardest thing of all. >> how to start over with everything, because everything's just dirt and debris.
but i got my family and we'll make it. >> reporter: a thought echoed daily across tuscaloosa as small signs of hope slowly emerge. the streets are finally clear. water is back on. electricity returns to more homes by the day. but one thing hasn't changed. so many neighborhoods like this remain in pieces, abandoned, lifeless ghosttowns. in fact, if you look around and look at all this destruction that's still all around us here, it looks like the storm hit yesterday. and it feels like it to survives whose lives were broken, bent and batteried. what was it that went in here? >> that was a two by four there. >> reporter: it went right through the house? >> right through the house. >> reporter: in one of the hardest hit areas, steven brown is the only one i find trying to rebuild. his house, the only one on the street still standing. but shredded inside and out by debris.
>> that was a piece of panels come through and wedged inside, inside of that right there. just wedged inside of that wall there. >> reporter: if someone had been hiding in this closet, that wouldn't have been safe either? >> no, no. went straight through. >> reporter: oh, look, it came all the way through. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: his family survived huddled and praying on the hallway floor. three next door neighbors survived. a google street view of brown street shows a wooded neighborhood full of life. in is what it looks like now. after everything that's happened, what made you decide to come back? >> this is home. >> reporter: and like so many hit by this tornado, brown is getting help from volunteers, offering food, sweat and comfort. brown tells me he's learned something and wants to tell the people of joplin, don't turn down help and don't give up. >> if you can't go anywhere, you can always go home. >> reporter: would have have been easier for you just t